Former journalist, Ian Bailey, has been disqualified from driving for one year and fined €700 after being convicted of drug-driving at a hearing in Bantry District Court following his arrest near Schull in West Cork nearly two years ago.
The 64-year-old had faced four charges arising out of his arrest on August 25th, 2019.
Mr Bailey, of the Prairie, Lisscaha in Schull in West Cork had been charged with and pleaded not guilty to possession of cannabis in his car, possession of cannabis at Bantry Garda Station, driving while cannabis was in his system, and allowing his car to be used for possession of cannabis.
He was today convicted of three charges with the dismissal of the charge of possession of cannabis in his car.
In November of last year Judge John King heard legal submissions from barrister Emmet Boyle on behalf of Mr Bailey. It was adjourned at that point to allow for written submissions on various matters.
Small tin of cannabis
Mr Bailey was found with a small tin of cannabis on his person following his arrest at a garda checkpoint in West Cork, the court previously heard.
He was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving, having failed a roadside breath test, but he then passed the evidenzer test at Bantry Garda Station.
The court heard that Mr Bailey had failed an oral fluid test and that blood samples taken by a doctor at Bantry Garda Station later tested positive for the presence of cannabis.
Bantry District Court previously heard that Mr Bailey had been stopped at a checkpoint in Schull shortly after 8pm on August 25th, 2019.
The court also heard that Mr Bailey said that the cannabis found on his person was for "personal use" and that a search of his car should not uncover any more of the drug.
However, gardai said they found three other joints in the car after they searched the vehicle.
Emmet Boyle, defending barrister, raised a number of issues in relation to the case. These included how gardai came to uncover the cannabis both on the person of his client Mr Bailey and in his car.
The Junior Counsel also mentioned other aspects of the Garda investigation, including why the arresting garda allegedly retained his client's car keys after his release on the night of his arrest, then took the car and parked it at the Garda station overnight before searching it the following morning.
Insp Ian O'Callaghan, prosecuting, defended the Garda procedures. He said the roadside procedures were "totally correct" and that once cannabis had been found on Mr Bailey in the search an experienced officer, had correctly formed the opinion that Mr Bailey may have been driving under the influence of a drug.
He said it was "entirely logical" to deduce this and "the Sgt's opinion was proved correct", referring to the results of the subsequent analysis.
Insp O'Callaghan said it was "standard practice" that prisoners be searched at a Garda station. He said " at all times" the keys to Mr Bailey's car were in Garda custody and that "it is the state's view that all procedures were done correctly.”
The blood sample taken from Mr Bailey showed a reading of 2.7ng/ml for D9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 1ng/ml and 19.5ng/ml for 11-nor-9-carboxy-D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) where the limit is 5ng/ml.
The drug seized was also confirmed as cannabis by the Forensic Science Laboratory.
Today at Bantry District Court Judge King dismissed the charge of possession of cannabis in Mr Bailey's car stating that gardaí had not observed the statutory requirements in detaining the car. However, he convicted Mr Bailey on the other three charges.
Judge King said Mr Bailey had been adequately informed regarding the search of his person at the Garda station.
Barrister for Mr Bailey, Emmet Boyle, said that the driving disqualification faced by his client would "weigh heavily on him" given that he lived in rural setting.
He said that Bailey's earnings were of a "lower order" and told the court that his client was on social welfare.
"He is living with somebody at their home, I will just leave it at that."
Judge King convicted Mr Bailey of drug-driving and fined him €400. On possession of cannabis he convicted him and fined him €300.
Recognisance for an appeal was set at Mr Bailey's own bond of €200.
Mr Bailey told reporters outside the court that he didn't have any thoughts on the verdict.
Mr Bailey last year successfully fought extradition to France after he was convicted in absentia of the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
Mr Bailey never travelled to France to give evidence with his legal team deeming it to be a show trial.
The law graduate has always protested his innocence in relation to the murder of the French woman.